Study: some AIDS patients recover their immune system

AIDS virus: A new study shows some patients' immune systems can recover from AIDS. Image NIH
AIDS virus: A new study shows some patients' immune systems can recover from AIDS. Image NIH

A new study has found that some AIDS patients are able to recover their immune systems to normal levels.

White blood cells protect the body from disease by fighting invaders. But AIDS attacks white blood cells, reducing their number, and leaving the patient vulnerable to other illnesses. Doctors treat AIDS with a combination of drugs that keeps the number of virus particles low, but there is little they can do to repair the damage to the immune system.

This study took over 1,800 AIDS patients who responded well to the drug therapy, and found that some of them actually brought their white blood cell count back up to normal levels.

The doctors stress that these were "best-case scenario" patients -- this will not work for everyone who has AIDS. Also, this is not a cure -- the AIDS virus remains in the patient's body, and a complicated and expensive series of drugs is needed to keep it at low levels.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Thor's picture
Thor says:

From the last of heard, although it's probably been a few years now, Magic Johnson seems to be experiencing this phenomenon. He is one of my all-time favorite basketball players, and I was devestated when the news came out he was HIV-positive. But now it sounds like he's had minimal health issues and is living a fairly regular life.

posted on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 5:01pm
Danielle's picture
Danielle says:

I have had a friend who was also diagnosed with HIV, and amazingly when he returned a few months later for a check-up, the HIV has somehow disappeared. Since his "scare" he has been living a healthier lifestyle, and it was a miracle that that happened, but it made me wonder whether the human immune system really can recover to that point, or if doctors are misdiagnosing. I haven't studied the matter, but would be more interested to find out if this is happening more and more. Maybe those that have been diagnosed in the past should once again get tested to see if they still have it as well; not to say that this would be a common occurance, but rather out of curiosity.

posted on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 5:31pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

From what I understand (and I admit my knowledge is limited), there is no cure for AIDS -- once you have the virus, you can't get rid of it. In your friend's case, it is possible that either the first doctor, or the second doctor, made an error.

In fact, one of the major problems with AIDS testing has been "false positives." That's when a test says you have a disease, when you actually don't. It's not necessarily the test's fault. No test is perfect -- even a test that is 99% accurate is wrong 1% of the time. And for a disease like AIDS, which affects less than 1% of the population, that means most positive results are, in fact, mistakes.

Which means anybody who tests positive for AIDS should get a second test done, just to be sure.

posted on Fri, 07/20/2007 - 8:33am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

"No test is perfect -- even a test that is 99% accurate is wrong 1% of the time. And for a disease like AIDS, which affects less than 1% of the population, that means most positive results are, in fact, mistakes."

Explain this again. It doesn't sound quite right. Having 99% accuracy means that most positive results (99%) are, in fact, correct. It's not that 100% of the population is tested for AIDS, and 1% is misdiagnosed. It's that just 1% of the tests done are false positives. Something doesn't make sense in what you said.

No, I get it now. IF everybody were tested, assuming that the same percentage of the population had the disease, there would be more positives than actual cases of AIDS. But not more incorrect results than correct results. Ok. This makes sense.

posted on Mon, 10/12/2009 - 5:03pm
Doc 2B's picture
Doc 2B says:

This was obviously a false positive. Although there are some cases of humans with an immunity to HIV that have been found in Africa, there are no documented cases of anyone recovering from HIV.


posted on Sun, 06/01/2008 - 10:45am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

actually, yes. 1% of the population on earth is now immune to aids and every other disease or ailment.
you could research this. there have bees studies following the lives of children born with aids: testing at birth positively, then again at 6 months, and 1 and even 2 years of age. Later, tested at 5 or 7 years of age they tested negative. scientists looked into their dna to find answers, and these children turned on several other -usually innactive- codons of the dna, becoming completely immune to all diseases.
look into it, I am.

posted on Sun, 11/08/2009 - 10:40am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

A little note. Hiv can never go away unless a bone marrow translplant occurs with the 4% of people in the world immune to HIv and the surgery is a success. He could be on antivrals making the virus undetectable for a while. Antivirals do lose their effect as time goes on. Or his doctor could have given him a false positive and therefore misdiagnosed his hiv. Look on the bright side though as time goes on we have a higher chance of getting a cure or vaccine.

posted on Tue, 11/24/2009 - 1:13pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

My aunt is in Aids remission after having the disease for 15 years. Her T cells are normal, and she was told that if she tested today her results would come out negative. She has 20 to 30 years left. Aids can be beat.

posted on Tue, 10/16/2007 - 7:35am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Stop the AZT teraphy, like magic johnson, and you'll be better...

posted on Mon, 10/12/2009 - 4:18pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

4% of the world is immune to hiv. There are currently 3 strains the third one was just recently discovered. However hiv has been cured. This cure however is expensive and risky. It is also unlikely. This cure is that a man had hiv and then got leukemia had to get a bone marrow transplant. They did one with someone who has natural immunity say and found out thatn his body began producing cells to destroy the hiv. The bad news is they can not be sure if the virus is really gone but have been unable to find it and he has beeen off antivirals. Unfortunately though this is not a suggested cure and has yet to be approved. So don't get your hopes up just yet.

posted on Tue, 11/24/2009 - 1:19pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I was diagnosed with full-blown aids & Hep-C back in December 2009, here
now in April 2010 with no medicine , 100% negative on every test my doctor could find and all blood levels are normal for both Aids & Hep C

Don’t understand this, is it hiding, did my immune system kill it off??
Will it come back?? This has given me terrible depression…

posted on Fri, 04/23/2010 - 2:56pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

its wonderful you are well again! A close friend of mine has full blown aids and caught the pseudonomas bacteria that has destroyed throat and bone tissue and he's on a feeding tube. Wondering where you received your care (what state) and what were your experiences during that that period. Any advice or insight you can give.

posted on Tue, 01/24/2012 - 8:27pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

We cannot give medical advice. All we can say is keep talking with your doctor, and enjoy your good health.

posted on Sun, 04/25/2010 - 8:51pm
bella451001's picture

well after reading this the saying" nothing is impossible" seems to be right .every disease have got its cure n its upon us now to discover it ....n one can not say that AIDS is cureless .........may be the scientists have gone so far that thy have left the cure some where in their way n yet it has to be discovered sooner or later.

posted on Mon, 04/26/2010 - 1:18am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i have suffer last 10 to 11 years hiv positive, if any possiblity to cure HIV. any medicune available for cure it. can i completely recover & the test is come negetive.

posted on Wed, 02/16/2011 - 4:16am
anonymoud's picture
anonymoud says:

I believe there is a cure for AIDS and the US government knows. You have to understand that the government and pharmaceuticals are all about money.Pharmaceutical companies would go broke if they actually started curing people.

posted on Sun, 12/01/2013 - 6:36pm

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <h3> <h4> <em> <i> <strong> <b> <span> <ul> <ol> <li> <blockquote> <object> <embed> <param> <sub> <sup>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may embed videos from the following providers vimeo, youtube. Just add the video URL to your textarea in the place where you would like the video to appear, i.e. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw0jmvdh.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Images can be added to this post.

More information about formatting options